View Full Version : Farrior still plays young

11-01-2009, 08:59 AM
Farrior still plays young
Sunday, November 01, 2009
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Peter Diana/Post-Gazette

Inside linebacker James Farrior had 15 tackles against the Vikings last weekend, including this hit on Brett Favre. Said defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau: "Fifteen was legit -- some of them were unbelievable."

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You can say just about anything to Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, probably the nicest, most revered man in the NFL.

Just don't suggest to him that his captain, James Farrior, might be losing a step now that he's 34 and spending a 13th consecutive autumn fighting off big, mean-spirited NFL offensive linemen just to get a chance to run head-on into fast, powerful running backs.

Nice or not, LeBeau doesn't tolerate fools kindly. The last thing he wants to hear is that a fella might be getting too up in years to be productive.

Said the NFL's oldest coach at 72:

"James Farrior hasn't lost a thing. He's just as quick now as he ever was. He's plenty quick."

LeBeau was fairly growling now, at least for him.

"James Farrior is our captain for a reason. He's still a great player and a great leader."

It's hard to argue with LeBeau after watching Farrior against the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday when he was credited with 15 tackles by the Steelers' press-box stats crew. That's a high number, but it was confirmed by LeBeau. "Fifteen was legit -- some of them were unbelievable," he said.

LeBeau might have been talking about Farrior's sack of quarterback Brett Favre. Or maybe his tackle of All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson for a 2-yard loss. Or perhaps the tackle he made on tight end Visanthe Shiancoe on a screen pass after fighting through a block by guard Anthony Herrera.

It's hard to say one of the tackles was more impressive than the others. They all were terrific. Farrior also had three quarterback hurries and was in primary coverage on Favre's two incompletions on second- and third-and-goal from the Steelers' 1, a stand that forced the Vikings to settle for a third-quarter field goal.

Not a bad day for an elderly man.

"I don't know how I keep doing it," Farrior said. "A lot of it is being around these young guys. They keep me going. I'm just trying to keep up with them."

Of course, there's much more to it.

Farrior's conditioning is extraordinary. "I try to hit it as hard as I can in the off-season," he said. The consensus at Steelers headquarters seems to be that linebacker James Harrison is the team's hardest worker, but Farrior might be No. 2.

There's also the film study that Farrior puts in. He doesn't just concentrate on the opponent's tendencies. Because he's responsible for lining up the defense each play, he has to know what every player on his team is supposed to do. "He's almost never out of position and makes sure we're not, either," defensive end Brett Keisel said.

"That's probably the main thing for me," Farrior said. "The key for me is being one step ahead of the other team and knowing what they're going to do before they do it. I'm a smarter football player now. I don't have to use my athletic ability as much as I did early in my career. When you know what you're supposed to do, it makes you play faster and look faster."

To say Farrior fairly wills himself to be a great player is not an overstatement. As a captain and a caring teammate, he took the Steelers' 1-2 start personally because it included late collapses by the defense -- his defense -- in the two losses. He especially took the loss in Cincinnati hard because he was beaten by running back Brian Leonard on an 11-yard pass play on fourth-and-10 during the Bengals' winning drive.

"I feel like I lost us this game," Farrior said after that 23-20 defeat. "That dude was my man."

His teammates quickly came to his defense, pointing out that play was just one of 22 on the Bengals' two fourth-quarter touchdown drives and that they were just as responsible for the loss. He still doesn't want to hear it.

"I felt like I let the team down," he said. "That's definitely a play I should have made. It was a tough game to swallow, but I'm a professional. I know all you can do about it is come back and go to work and try to prove yourself again."

So Farrior has.

The Steelers' defense has been much better since, doing its share of the heavy lifting in four consecutive wins. Harrison -- the AFC Defensive Player of the Month for October -- deserves much credit. A healthy Troy Polamalu also has been huge. Just don't underestimate Farrior's role.

"He's our leader," linebacker LaMarr Woodley said. "He's the guy we follow."

It's fair to think Farrior's amazing run will end sooner rather than later. That age business, you know? Still, if you just watched him play, you'd never guess he was 34. You wouldn't know it by listening to him, either. He talks as if he wants to finish out the five-year, $18.25 million contract he signed before last season.

"That was the plan then and it's still the plan," Farrior said. "This is so much fun, I can't stop. I'm going to play till they kick me out."

It doesn't sound as if that will happen soon.

"The stage is never too big for James," gushed Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who, at 37, isn't even three full years older than Farrior.

"He's always ready to play."

To take on those blockers.

To meet those running backs head on.

To kick the heck out of Father Time.

Ron Cook can be reached at rcook@post-gazette.com. More articles by this author
First published on November 1, 2009 at 12:00 am

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09305/1009628-87.stm#ixzz0VcVCSzCP

11-01-2009, 01:12 PM
farriors the man, ive always liked him, even got his jersey a couple yrs ago. hes playin really well this season, just like last year, and the year before, and the year before, and the year before that, i hope this defense keeps growing and by the end of the season is #1 again

11-01-2009, 03:05 PM
One of the best if not the best free agent we've ever signed. I can't think of a better one.

11-02-2009, 04:40 PM
One of the best if not the best free agent we've ever signed. I can't think of a better one.

It's between him & The Bus.

11-02-2009, 05:00 PM
It's between him & The Bus.

"free agent" bussy was a trade. so i have to agree with him:tt04::tt04::tt04:

11-02-2009, 05:31 PM
"free agent" bussy was a trade. so i have to agree with him:tt04::tt04::tt04:

Thank you sir may I have another?

11-02-2009, 09:39 PM
Potsie is like the ever-ready bunny - just keeps goin' and goin' and goin'. Like a fine wine, the guy just gets better with age. :hatsoff::thumbsup:

11-03-2009, 08:14 PM
Brandon Spikes!!!!!Brandon Spikes!!!!Brandon Spikes!!!!!!!!!!

11-03-2009, 08:32 PM
I'm originally from Virginia & go back there often to see family. I invariably see people with UVa football hats/shirts on, and I always talk to them about how much we love Farrior and Heath. Their eyes always light up when they see my Steelers stickers on the car, and many will talk about how much they liked both players when they were in Charlottesville.

I'll always think more of UVa because of those two players alone. Any recruit from those schools already has a point in their favor. :)